Before having her kids, Jillian Hanes moved around a lot. So often, in fact, she remembers never feeling comfortable hanging photographs and art on the wall. “No place ever felt like home,” she explained. That all changed when she became a homeowner through First Story.

Jillian first learned about First Story when she worked for an affordable-housing-focused nonprofit and wrote an article about a First Story family. “I interviewed the family and got to attend the wall raising and dedication,” she said. “Then I kind of forgot about it, because I’m a single mom with two kids and have college debt.”

From Jillian’s perspective, homeownership wasn’t in the picture for her.

The following year, after moving on to a new job, Jillian contacted her previous employer to seek financial counseling and help with her budget. A credit review revealed she had a qualifying score for First Story’s program. With that information, her family’s opportunity for homeownership came into focus.

Her First Story home has offered her and her family stability and financial security, which in turn has allowed her the freedom to help others. It also gave her a permanent sense of place. “Now we have a ton of family pictures on the walls,” Jillian said.